Posted in INDIA

Uthaya’s wife: “Kumar is a principled man”

In the news today, ‘Nurul Izzah files private members bill to abolish Sedition Act(TMI)

Last year Prime Minister Najib Razak had announced that the Sedition Act would be abolished.

P. Uthayakumar was recently sentenced to 2½ years jail on the charge of sedition. The Sedition Act 1948 provides for a penalty of up to three years’ jail for the first offence. The sentence meted out to Uthaya is stiff.

Uthaya was convicted in the KL Sessions Court for the contents of a letter which he wrote in his capacity as Hindraf legal advisor late 2007 to the then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Uthaya is now in Kajang prison. He was taken there immediately after the verdict was delivered and his sentence read out.

He is allowed a visit by his family once a month lasting about 45 minutes.

The last time his wife S. Indra Devi saw him, his head was bald (it seems in prison the head of male prisoners are regularly shaved).

On their next visit, his children want to pass him a belated Father’s Day card as they could not do so on the day when other ordinary families celebrated the occasion.

IndraDevi

Indra said in the Kajang prison she could only talk to her husband through the transparent panel separating them. They communicate using the telephone (like what we see on TV).

This is different compared to when Uthaya was under ISA detention. According to Indra, in Kamunting the detainee’s family was allowed weekly visits and during those times, she could touch and hold her husband.

Indra also observed that the prison authorities allow Uthaya’s lawyer, ex-Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman M. Manoharan, an easier access to her husband than they allow her.

In addition to the monthly visits, Uthaya is permitted to make weekly phone calls to Indra lasting 15 minutes.

When Indra can hear his voice, her anxiety is temporarily allayed. But at other times she worries whether he has taken his medication as he is a diabetic.

She also said that she was told he slipped in the prison bathroom due to the drain clogging. Uthaya shares a crowded cell with 4-5 other prisoners.

The irony of Uthaya’s incarceration is not lost on Indra. Now he is “inside” with the criminals. As a lawyer and human rights activist, Uthaya had established Policewatch and taken up cases, many pro bono, for abused detainees in police custody.

Although Uthaya is appealing his sentence, Indra said that she is mentally prepared for the worst case scenario, which is that he may not be released until the complete jail term is up.

I said to her that I hoped his sentence would be reviewed and commuted.

I met her up last Saturday at the Human Rights Party office in Bangsar. Uthaya had given up his lease on the premises and the HRP staff were packing their office equipment to move to Klang where a well-wisher has temporarily loaned them some office space.

Youth chief S. Thiagarajan is holding the fort in Uthaya’s absence.

Indra said the core group of Uthaya’s loyal supporters and dedicated volunteers are lovely people who are there for her all the time. They have stayed steadfast because they believe in the just cause.

Indra said that Uthaya expected “rights not mercy” (the HRP slogan) and he had readied himself for the consequences of the court action, come what may.

“Kumar is a principled man,” she said. (His family calls Uthayakumar “Kumar” while the media call him “Uthaya”.)

Indra said she is proud to be his wife although she is immensely saddened by the ordeal that he and their family are being put through.

She recounted how Uthaya had once driven their children to Kamunting. Stopping the car outside, he pointed to the gates of the detention centre and told his daughters, “Appa will be in there.”

Indra is concerned and fearful for her husband’s safety. Two-and-a-half years separation is a long time. Berat mata kita memandang, berat lagi bahu mereka yang memikul.

She pointed out that Uthaya is being doubly punished as he had already spent 1½ years under ISA for the same offence. Taken together, both penalties added up to four years, Indra said.

Commenting on the letter to Gordon Brown, Hindraf national advisor N. Ganesan said, it was “a reflection of the genuine sentiments of Malaysian Indians who felt angry and oppressed by the unlawful demolitions of Hindu temples that was occurring prolifically in 2005-2007. The judiciary has to be sensitive to the true feelings of the people”.

I hope that when Uthaya’s appeal comes up for hearing, the fact that the man is a committed human rights advocate who raised legitimate issues for the sake of the people, would be a factor considered in mitigation.

Furthermore, Najib himself did say that the Sedition Act would be done away with.

Indra recalled how on polling day immediately after Uthaya had lost his bid for the Seri Andalas state and Kota Raja Parliament seats, they were walking to their car. Suddenly the phone rang. Someone had called up to ask for Uthaya’s help.

He sighed and they exchanged looks.

“The people need my husband,” Indra concluded.

KPBstar
Mother and son lose their home in Kg Buah Pala

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25 thoughts on “Uthaya’s wife: “Kumar is a principled man”

  1. Nurul is copycatting her beloved daddy..” capturing the thunder “. AG office is already studying the abolishment of the Seditious Act and replacing it with a new Act, to make the Law current.

    Next, she will table private bill on anything Fiscal, of which , means, “trying to yell harder than the barking dog”

  2. Helen,

    Anda melontarkan satu rencana mengenai seorang ‘wira’ yang terselit kisah seorang isteri dan anaknya kehilangan suami dan pada penghujungnya pula anda menampalkan bersama gambar ibu dan anak yang kehilangan buah pala.. Pelbagai tafsiran boleh dibuat atas kiriman puan ini! Menjolok isu memang satu kemahiran semulajadi Helen rasanya..

    Saya menyeru saudara india saya supaya belajarlah cara survival saudara cina kita. Perkukuhkan wadah politik, ekonomi dan pendidikan kalian. Janganlah bergantung harap sepenuhnya bangsa lain menolong kita. Hentikanlah menjadi alat pemuas nafsu politik orang lain. Bersatupadu adalah asas survival bangsa kita.

    Saya cadangkan kekalkan Hindraf sebagai NGO yg tiada berpartisan, MIC dalam BN serta satu parti lain yg mewakili India dalam PR. Janganlah termakan gula gula DAP yang konon nya akan perjuangkan kaum India. Gambar mangsa buah pala yang Helen kerap tunjukkan itu sepatutnya menyedarkan orang India tentang belang DAP.

    1. Kg Buah Pala adalah salah satu perjuangan Hindraf.

      Sepertimana yang saya pernah ceritakan sebelum ini, salah seorang aktivis on the ground ketika itu ialah Chandrasekaran (kurang dikenali ramai), seorang adik-beradik Uthayakumar dan Waythamoorty yang mem’briefing’ saya tentang isu tersebut pada sekitar 2009.

      1. You means Uthaya sent to kajang Prison because of Kg. Buah Pala?

        Sorry to say, he deserve that. He choose the wrong way.

        1. I believe the charge of sedition relates to the term “ethnic cleansing” that he was alleged to have used.

          1. Yeah.. that sedition for ‘ethnic cleansing’.. he choose to make war with us by accuse us ‘clean their ethnic’.. so disgusting of him!

            Actually, is it he really believe or is it he really make statement that we ‘clean his ethnic’ ? Seems you quiet close with them, are you also believe that allegation?

  3. Helen – In this matter, I disagree with you. Uthaya deserves the jail sentence for breaking the Sedition Law, back then. I absolutely have no sympathy towards Uthaya and anyone alike. But I recognize your right to sympathize him and his wife. But you seemingly sad story on how his wife had gone through life since Uthaya was found guilty does not affect me at all. ‘Crocodile tears’ came at the back of my mind.

    1. Much as I symphatized with the family, I have to agree with Setem. The law is there for a reason. You can’t expect to get away with breaking the law just because you feel you have a very good reason. And having said that, I’m waiting for the Sedition law to catch up to AI, Tian Chua and gang.

  4. Saya simpati dengan isteri Uthaya tetapi pada waktu yang sama saya juga faham kenapa beliau dikenakan tindakan sedemikian.

    Cerita yang diceritakan oleh isteri Uthaya tentang kesengsaraan dan tekanan perasaan yang dihadapi oleh tahanan dan ahli keluarga bukan asing bagi saya terutama berkaitan dengan waktu melawat dan permohonan untuk keluar melawat ahli keluarga yang sakit tenat atau meninggal. Ini benar-benar terjadi.

    Kerana inilah seorang teman yang pernah ditahan dipenjara (kerana tak bayar saman) dan kemudian ditahan ISA (kes pengikut Al-Maunah) pernah berkata kepada saya yang dia lebih rela ditahan di bawah ISA dari dipenjarakan. Sekurang-kurangnya dia lebih bebas di sana berbanding dengan dipenjara.

    Dia penentang kuat pembatalan ISA dan kini penyokong kuat untuk menghidupkan semua ISA. Jadi, fikir-fikirkanlah.

    :o sarah

  5. ‘Commenting on the letter to Gordon Brown, Hindraf national advisor N. Ganesan said, it was “a reflection of the genuine sentiments of Malaysian Indians who felt angry and oppressed by the unlawful demolitions of Hindu temples that was occurring prolifically in 2005-2007. The judiciary has to be sensitive to the true feelings of the people”.’

    What is the motive asking westerners (a bad one, I might add) to meddle into our affairs?

    We are not the subjects of the british queen? Are these people the subjects of the queen?

    Isn’t it enough that, we have been oppressed and colonised by the british?

    Our wealth has been robbed from us for at least 400 years. A lot more lives lost due to their cruel occupation!

    So when certain quarters of us, wrote to Obama or Brown asking for help, what are they trying to do? Do they know what they are asking for?The last time that these US and Brits take matters into their own hand, they killed millions. Millions more suffered tremendously. Their countries torn into pieces.

    Is that what they are trying to do? I hope not. And if not, then wouldn’t it be stupid and insulting for them to do so. And if the law say it is seditious, I can only be grateful that these people were put behind bars.

    I also held the point of view that any unlawful temple, tokong, church, surau (yes, suraus also get torn down) should be demolished.

    Demolitions of these unlawful building is not unlawful.

    The authorities might need to deal with the issues with more tact and professionalism. The tidak apa attitudes towards unlawful religious premises must not stopped once and for all. Not in the name of God. And especially not in the name of Najib as we have seen only recently.

  6. Thanks for your kind words, Helen.

    Malaysiakini’s S.Thayaparan said in one of his pieces, that you were the most compassionate and articulate observers of the Malaysian Indian experience. He was right.

  7. Two recent anecdotes of mine regarding Indians.

    Anecdote #1:
    Last year, I happened to travel to US on a short business trip. While I was there, I had some leisure time chatting with my American counterpart regarding Malaysia. As usual, I proceed to explain that Malaysia is populated with three majority races, Malay, Chinese, Indians, all those standard boring stuffs. His face lighted up when I mentioned the word Indians. He then asked, “Indians?” I said “Yes”. “Are they involved in technology companies?”, he asked. I blanked for a while and answered no. Then I diverted to other stuffs. The thing is Indians have built such a good reputation in US, in so many fields of science with high economic values, that they’re actually considered a model minority over there. The US team that I worked with have at least 3 staffs of Indian descents. If I told my American counterpart about Indians’ plight here, I think it’ll shock him.

    Anecdote #2:
    When KBP issue blew up, nobody really bat an eyelid. Including me. Yes, I’m part of the problem. I only read in concern when that issue brought up in another perspective in this blog of Helen. Then I tried to bring this up to a Malay colleague during a casual discussion, she retorted, “Itu bukan tanah mereka kan?” When I forwarded a post from this blog to Chinese peers, their responses were “You read the wrong info!”, “They got their double storey houses what!” In the end, nobody care, it’s not their problem, so case closed. All most people care is whether they can continue to make more money out of speculating the properties that are built on top of KBP’s land. I don’t know how to help, but if nobody cares, nothing will be done.

    1. Actually, is there still any issue with Kampung Buah Pala? If you take the ‘race’ and ‘politic’ out, the facts are as below.
      1.. the villagers claimed that the original owner who is an English Lady GAVE them the land. They then build houses and rear livestocks there.
      2.. Pejabat Tanah says that the land title does not say so.
      3.. Another company says they have the land title, and they want to take possession of the land.
      4.. Lastly the solution was … the Co gets the land and the agreed villagers get compensated with a double-story house each.
      Tell me which other similar ‘penduduk asal’ gets a double story house each? Note, Penang’s real estate is comparable to Klang valley. So what could still be an issue here?

      1. 1.. the villagers claimed that the original owner who is an English Lady GAVE them the land.

        Correct. Helen Margaret Brown, a descendant of the Mr Brown who founded the plantation.

        2.. Pejabat Tanah says that the land title does not say so.

        “Keluarga Brown balik ke Britain pada tahun 1953, dan meninggalkan tanah Kampung Buah Pala kepada “housing trust” (amanah perumahan). Akan tetapi, “housing trust” telah dibubarkan pada tahun 1976 dan status tanah ini telah menjadi satu misteri.” — See Kg Buah Pala resident’s blog site.

        null

        Also, the land title had the condition that it cannot be transferred, mortgaged, pawned, sublet, or used as a business instrument without getting written consent from the state authority/exco. View YouTube: Chronology of Buah Pala Land Scam, Part 1

        3.. Another company says they have the land title, and they want to take possession of the land.

        On 13 July 2009, DCM (I) Mansor Othman and DCM (II) P. Ramasamy filed reports with the MAAC alleging irregularity in the transaction.

        Hanky-panky: On March 13, 2008 (a few days after election), the Kg Buah Pala villagers met the newly installed Penang Chief Minister LGE and updated him about their situation.

        Before the GE on March 8, DAP had made promises to the villagers (something Karpal acknowledged during the handing-over of the house keys ceremony recently) that KBP would be preserved.

        But on the very next day on March 14 (after the residents met with LGE), the state government SUDDENLY AND OUT OF THE BLUEaccepts final payment of RM2,247,000 for the Buah Pala land! (source: Anil Netto)

        Pure coincidence? I don’t think so. That’s why it was a case of ‘Padi harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi’. Like lambs to the slaughter, the villagers went to LGE thinking he would help and it looks like e (either LGE or one of the people aware of the meeting) tipped off the company Numestro.

        The said RM2.25 million paid on March 14 comes almost a year after the previous payment of RM321k and almost 10 months after the Land Office asked for final payment.

        It was the Gerakan-led state govt sold the land to Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang for a song.

        However, it was DAP who hit the final nail on the coffin because the last tranche of payment that sealed the deal was made on 14 March 2008 during which time, please remember, that it was DAP that was already in power. And later DAP that betrayed the villagers’ trust in the subsequent siding with developers.

        4.. Lastly the solution was … the Co gets the land and the agreed villagers get compensated with a double-story house each.

        There was fraud committed.

        COPYPASTE a commenter’s contribution (see Wong Mun Chee):

        quote

        “Now fraudulent transaction gives ample power to the state government according to to Section 340(2) of the NLC that clearly spells out
        The title or interest of any such person or body shall not be indefeasible
        (a) in any case of fraud or misrepresentation to which the person or body, or any agent of the person or body, was a party or privy; or
        (b) where registration was obtained by forgery, or by means of an insufficient or void instrument; or
        (c) where the title or interest was unlawfully acquired by the person or body in the purported exercise of any power or authority conferred by any written law.
        Notwithstanding all this, under section 81 & 82 of NLC 1965, there is a time limit whereby the premium needs to paid, normally within three (3) months otherwise the state government has the authority to invalidate the transaction. In this case, YB Koh Tsu Koon’s approval was on 25/4/07, and the Cooperative paid the balance of the premium only on the 14/3/08 to the Pakatan Government led by YB Lim Guan Eng. So what happened?

        Then on 23/05/2009, the PR state exco decided to claim for the balance of 50% of the premium which the Koperasi agreed to settle if the terms of the land title were honoured. Therefore, they know that there is a possibility that it would not be honoured and the legal implication if you drag them to court on the fraudulent transaction.
        Then in the MalaysianKini report on July 30, 2009, Lawyer and Petaling Jaya city councilor, Derek Fernandez, said the state government can take back the land, based on a caveat in the 99-year lease document issued by the land registrar. He says “It is issued with restriction ‘tanah yang diberi milik ini tidak boleh dipindah milik, cagar, pajak, pajakan kecil atau sebarang bentuk urusniaga (the land cannot be transferred, mortgaged, pawned, sub-let or used as a business instrument).”This restriction reduces the cooperatives to an end-user as it can build houses for members only. It cannot enter into a joint venture to develop the land or sell units to third party,” he added. “Therefore the state government can stop the demolition by issuing an acquisition notice under the Land Acquisition Act”, he added, yes the same one with a stroke of a pen.Then on August 3, 2009- Star – GEORGE TOWN: The state government will file an application at the High Court Tuesday to invoke Section 116 (1)(d) of the National Land Code to prevent the demolition of houses in Kampung Buah Pala.Seri Delima assemblyman R. S. N. Rayer said they had initially wanted to file in the application Monday but North-east district officer Azizi Zakaria had yet to sign the documents. “We can only file them once Azizi signs the documents. I have been in the High Court until 4.30pm so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to file it,” he said when met at the High Court Tuesday. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary Ng Wei Aik said the state had appointed Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh and Rayer to file the application.
        Anyway, did you ever file for that order? Were Rayer and Karpal in court on August 4, 2009 to file the application? You tell me, or was it just another media spin?
        Nobody, including Karpal, has shown us, the public, what efforts had been undertaken to challenge the fraudulent land transfer, and many other avenues other than clamoring that it was KSK’s fraudulent act and that nothing could be done about it.

        unquote

        1. Helen – Though the Indians were obviously duped and cheated by DAP in this KBP case, some of them (probably Christian Indians) still supported DAP and voted the party. Isnt that an irony?

          It goes to show that Indians themselves should take the blame for some of the Indian sorry plights in this country. They dont look after themselves. I am not surprises that the fairer Indians look down on the darker ones in Malaysia. And the sickening caste system creates more fissions amongst the Indians.

          I always feel that the sorry state of the Indians will not going to end any soon unless they start to look after themselves. But Hindraf only looks after the middle and low income Indians, and the rich ones do not give two hoots about Hindraf.

    2. Well Malaysia has an under class of Indians, additionally to the middle and upper middle which is here probably filled with successful doctors or lawyers instead of engineers like US.

      Your second anecdote just reinforces the fact that Malaysia is still divided communally by race, and it really needs people of somebody’s own race to help the race. This shows MIC’s failure, and the fact that the Pakatan totally has no Indian platform, probably because the Indian community is small enough and their votes doesn’t matter to them.

      Hindraf’s started on the wrong foot with it’s fight for temples, and their actions with the UK. Starting fights on the basis of religion and getting foreign countries involved, well, I’d say they got off lightly, things could have ended much uglier.

      Talking about the seditiion act, I don’t think they would do away with it totally, maybe create a new similar act or even still keep the act. After they abolished ISA, the opposition started whining about increased crime, and I imagine this must be exasperating to the government. Don’t think they would want to follow on another opposition’s suggestion now, it’s not likely to get votes after what happened last election anyway.

      1. Asking people of another race to help you is akin to opening the doors and windows of your house and inviting the beasts and whatever that’s outside to come in and rob you dry, and in the worse case scenario, your life will also be in danger.

        Moral of the story is, if you don’t look after the interest of your own community, you are vulnerable. Stop asking for help from others. And the beyond race politics of PR ? All a load of crap. Don’t even believe a word of it. And if you do, you know what’s going to happen to you. Just look at the Indians. Get the message ?

  8. Your last picture paints a THOUSAND words – such sense of hopelessness, like a DRAGON (DAP) about to swallow them alife!

    Dear politicians…

    Power means everything for you up there but for the very ordinary rakyat, having a roof above their head, a meal a day and education for the kids are all that matters.

    We all will die one day, buried six feet under, ashes being drifted in a river or tucked someplace in a special locker… why can’t you politicians just help give peace a chance for everyone to lead a happy and joyous life in this beautiful and plentiful land, MALAYSIA?

    Susah sangat ke? Why so difficult?

    1. Rina,

      Kita yang kena berubah. Ahli politik tidak akan berubah. Mereka seperti sesumpah yang akan berubah warna kulit mengikut kehendak pengundi.

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